The Nashville economy enjoys a consistently low unemployment rate, a broadening and talented work force, recent job growth, and moderate to low taxes for businesses and residents. While music, entertainments, and tourism top the list as the most well-known sources of revenue, Nashville is also a leader in other industries such as health care, publishing, biotechnology, higher education, finance, and insurance.
The music industry in Nashville is widespread and is what makes the city famous. Billions of dollars are pumped into the economy from the thriving entertainment businesses as well as the recording industry. Local offshoots have enjoyed success as well from booking agencies to promotional firms to trade publications to local recording studios. Most major record labels maintain offices on Nashville’s Music Row including Sony, RCA, Capitol, Columbia, MCA, and others.
It’s no surprise that tourism is big business is in Nashville. In fact, Nashville is the hottest area for the State of Tennessee’s tourism revenues of over $2.2 billion. There is no shortage of great entertainment, attractions, and services for the benefit of residents and tourists in Nashville.
Surprisingly, health care is also one of Nashville’s top industries. Companies in the health care field employed almost 90,000 people and paid out over $4 billion in payroll in 2002 alone. Over 350 health care companies have some form of operations facility with the Nashville metro area while 21 health care companies are based here. Nashville also boasts some of the highest ranking hospitals in the U.S. and thereby retains some of the nation’s top doctors as well.
The Bible Belt of the South extends its reach through Nashville. The world’s leading publisher of Bibles, Thomas Nelson, is headquartered in Nashville. In addition to being a hub for religious publishing, Nashville is also becoming known as a major distribution center for other types of books and media. The Nashville metro area is now one of the top ten largest publishing cities in the U.S. and certainly the largest in the Southeast part of the country.
Nashville serves as a major transportation hub primarily because of its central location in the Mid-South. More than 80 miles of interstate highways run in, out, and around the city. Because of this excellent network of roads and easy accessibility, the trucking industry remains strong here. Many trucking firms have made Nashville a regional headquarters for local and bulk transportation services. Trucks and freight lines move millions of tons of goods through Nashville each year.
Rail service has remained steadfast in Nashville since the turn of the century. Two local shortline railroads, Nashville Eastern and Nashville Western, along with the CSX Intermodal local division run an average of 90 trains through Nashville every day. More than 30 commercial operators run barges along the Cumberland River through Nashville. The Nashville Air Cargo Link is a foreign trade zone serving the Nashville International Airport; it ships over 65 thousand tons of cargo through Nashville per year. Whether by air, land, or water, the central location and modern accesses to and within Nashville makes it a leading location for commercial shipping and transportation.
Nashville’s economic outlook appears great for both businesses and residents. With many recent corporate relocations or expansions and continued population growth, Nashville’s economy is predicted to be strong for the future. It’s no wonder Nashville made Forbes.com 2006 list as the #7 metropolitan area for the “Best Places for Business and Careers.” Even with all this growth, smiles and hellos will still be commonplace because Nashville remains a friendly place to live and work.